Thursday, March 13, 2014

A teary farewell from the Bolga Team Leader

It’s been an amazing 10 months living and working in Ghana and I am so sad that my time here is drawing to a close. There are too many people to thank personally for making my time here so memorable, but I am going to give it a go.

Firstly, the staff of IS Ghana, in particular Patience and Rene, who consistently go above and beyond what is expected of them. They always put the needs of the volunteers’ first and their approachability and support has been invaluable to me as a team leader. They are dedicated to the volunteers and the projects, and I know that this is appreciated by everyone.

TradeAID Integrated is an inspiring NGO and the work they do in the Upper East Region is truly commendable. I have loved working on the INCOME project and learning about the arts and crafts sector of Bolgatanga. The TradeAID staff have always been accommodating and helpful and I feel honoured to have worked with the talented artisans of Bolgatanga, who have always been so appreciative of the project. How will I ever go back to a job where I don’t get greeted with a dance? I have also worked closely with the Director of TradeAID, Nicholas Apokerah and would like to thank him for the guidance he gave me in helping me to plan and manage the project.

And finally, I need to thank all the volunteers, whom I wish I could list individually. I have seen through three sensational cohorts all comprised of interesting, intelligent individuals who have shown dedication and perseverance, immersing themselves into Ghanaian life and their projects. The national volunteers, Conrad and Mathilda, whom I have worked with from the very beginning, have been essential to the project, readily imparting their local knowledge to the rest of the team. Their hard work and belief in the project has been a huge support for me.

The international volunteers that I have been lucky enough to have on my team have never ceased to impress me with their dedication to the project. They have consistently produced high quality work, quickly adapting to the new environment and way of life. I am proud of all of them and excited to see the inspirational and exciting things they achieve in their future.

In the ten months I have been here, below are some of the accomplishments achieved:

  • Produced an extensive fundraising proposal outlining activities designed to aid the artisans of Bolgatanga 
  • Raised the funds needed for a craft fair in Bolgatanga to take place in 2014 
  • Designed and compiled the content for TradeAID Integrated’s new website 
  • Created social media outlets for TradeAID Integrated 
  • Conducted record keeping lessons with the local artisans 
  • Hosted the first steering committee meeting regarding Bolgatanga achieving Fair Trade Town Status
These achievements (of which there are many more) are all down to the hard work and commitment of my team and for that I cannot thank them enough.

 My volunteers have also become my friends. The support that they have given me, the care packages they have sent me and the many, many laughs I have shared with them has made these last ten months some of the best of my life. The only reason I am returning to the UK is to organise reunion events!

So, it is with great sadness that I leave Ghana and in particular Bolgatanga. Ghanaians truly live up to the stereotype of being the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world and I don’t believe that this could be any truer than of Ghanaians from the Upper East Region. I feel that everyone has welcomed me into the local community, encouraging me to embrace the local tradition and culture, meaning that in my ten months here there has never been a dull, lonely or homesick moment. SO THANK YOU GHANA.

HERE IS TO: Good Taste, Nutella, the cell room, powdered milk, malaria, P90X, spots, Howa, fried chicken, Soul Train, African fabric, bandanas, RAGING, care packages, BUSUA, more spots, stew – no rice, Insanity, Salmeas, Sandema, POPPY, the Bolga Babez, the roof, YOLO, swag, Peace, Jowa/Bowa, Legacy, red red, rent, sausages, striker, Duti Mgee, Sangria, Tongo, Rasby, bunting, twerking, Patience, Bolga baskets, PASTOR, shake your body, Sand Gardens, new Bugattis, Genesis, Black star, BLUE JEANS, small small, chopping money, goats, Fan Ice Friday, stars, Melcom, TASHA, team leWHO, Smirnoff on ice, pub quizzes, yoga, northern brothers summit, Bruce, fair trade, diarrhoea, Tamale, bucket showers, Avosco Parliament, tros, porridge, pure water, bolga to accra, selfies, poppy goes to bolga on the weekend, avocados, YAM, sorry oo, Wisdom, Sangatanga AND SO MUCH MORE.


My third cohort (L-R): Therri (me), Conrad, Falah, Zainab, Lukmaan, Jake, Alastair, Mathilda
2nd Cohort (L-R): Naa Lamley, Cara, Kezia, Me, Kay

1st Cohort (L-R): Nasim, Bel, Hannah, Ola, Dan, Me (on the floor)

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